Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from Octane, Petrolicious, and Curbside Classic.
Today's theme is insane cars. I own a Merkur, trust me.
Renault 5 Turbo rally cars – Octane
What I can say is that there’s no question that this inherent agility – probably more accurately described as dynamic instability – coupled with minimal mass and strong traction helped tilt the odds, if not in favour of the plucky little 5 then certainly less towards the grippier, gruntier Group 4 machinery. That only a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive 911 RS, driven by Monte specialist Nicolas, could beat the little 5 in the snowy conditions tells its own story about the scale of the Group 2 Alpine’s achievement. What a ballsy little car.
Concept Classic: Lamborghini Marzal – The Espada’s Inspiration And My Heartthrob Of 1967 – Curbside Classic
I feel like we're lucky to grow up in a modern era of cars with some outstanding metal, but the '60s do sound great.
I don’t want to rub it in for you younger ones, but living through the sixties was a treat. Just about every day, something radically new appeared, whether it was music, clothes, drugs, ideas, or cars. And the era really hit its peak from about 1966 through 1970 or so. The Marzal was a serious early high point in one of the most creative eras ever. Nobody had done anything like this before.
COSMOS PIONEERED MAZDA ROTARIES – Petrolicous
Not to boast, but I got to get behind the wheel of one of these last weekend. The one Mazda has needs a bit more sorting before it's back on the road again, but I got to "drive" (read: turn the wheel) it as someone pushed. It was just as great as you'd imagine.
Styling was a mish mash of American and European ideas prevalent at the time, yet the finished whole was somehow only identifiable as distinctly Japanese. Though released to market in 1967, development actually began immediately after Mazda first gained the rights to develop its rotary heart, with prototypes running the test circuit as early as 1963—incredibly futuristic stuff for a world still run by vacuum tubes, let alone for Japan, who were still very busy clawing their way back from the utter devastation of WWII.